Saturday 25 January 2020

Storm Brendan: Weather warnings in place for five counties as 32,000 homes and businesses without electricity

  • Met Eireann downgrade warnings as tracks away
  • Gusts of up to 130km/h; some flight cancellations
  • Over 100,000 homes and businesses lost power today
  • More bad weather forecast tomorrow
  • Waves crash over the seafront in Clontarf this afternoon during Storm Brendan
Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
    Waves crash over the seafront in Clontarf this afternoon during Storm Brendan Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

    Allison Bray

    Weather warnings remain in place for five counties this evening and around 32,000 homes and businesses are without electricity after Storm Brendan came barrelling across the country today.

    A spokesman for ESB Networks said around 32,000 customers are still without power as gusts of up to 135 km/h have led to flight cancellations and diversions and dangerous driving conditions due to downed trees and other debris on the road – including at least three trampolines found blowing on roads and motorways in counties Limerick, Tipperary and Kildare.

    Crews are hoping to restore power to the affected customers - mainly in counties Wexford, Waterford and Kerry - tonight where it was safe to do so. Over the course of the day, power has been restored to around 100,000 customers who experienced intermittent outages.

    But Status Orange wind warnings remain in place for counties Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo until midnight tonight with a second wave of strong winds - possibly dipping into Status Red (wind warning) gusts - was forecast to hit the west and northwest tonight. Consequently power may not be restored in affected areas until later tomorrow.

    And forecasts of more bad weather expected tomorrow - including heavy rain extending across the country by midday with possible wintry showers and thunder as well as strong winds in the southeast and daytime highs not exceeding 3C to 5C - could hamper clean-up efforts.

    High spring tides expected around 9pm last night and 2pm today could also add to the coastal flooding that hit many communities yesterday.

    However, despite the ferocious nature of the storm - which left one man trapped under a gate that blew on top of him at the height of the storm in Ennis, Co Clare - there were no reports of serious injury or death, according to the State’s emergency preparedness team.

    “Heavy rainfall and high winds have caused difficult conditions across the country today but people are heeding the public safety advice,” according to a statement from the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management tonight.

    “Local authorities activated their crisis management teams and local co-ordination groups over the weekend in anticipation of Storm Brendan. Coastal flood defences were put in place and local authorities closed some roads in exposed coastal locations.”

    Meanwhile, after what Met Eireann’s Head of Forecasting Evelyn Cusack described as “several hours of very dangerous weather,” the second named storm of the year blew out over the Irish Sea by teatime last night after triggering a Status Red warning in all coastal areas for a time today.

    Photo taken with permission from the Twitter feed of @GalwayWalks of a pier in Salthill, Ireland, as Storm Brendan sweeps across Ireland and the UK with winds gusting up to 80mph. Photo: Brian Nolan/PA Wire
    Photo taken with permission from the Twitter feed of @GalwayWalks of a pier in Salthill, Ireland, as Storm Brendan sweeps across Ireland and the UK with winds gusting up to 80mph. Photo: Brian Nolan/PA Wire

    Gusts of 135 km/h were reported at Roche’s Point in Co Cork while winds with speeds of around 100 km/h were also reported in counties Kerry and Mayo.

    The entire country was under a Status Orange wind warning until 3pm today. The storm caused numerous flight cancellations and diversions and made driving treacherous in many parts of the south and west due to fallen trees and debris. The storm forced two flights en route from the UK to Shannon Airport to be diverted to Cork Airport this morning.

    A Ryanair flight with 134 passengers on board from Manchester was diverted as was another Ryanair flight from London Stansted, with 111 passengers.

    All passengers were then taken by bus to Shannon Airport from Cork to resume their journeys once the winds died down.

    Three Aer Lingus flights from Shannon to Birmingham, Edinburgh and London Heathrow were also cancelled.

    While both Dublin and Cork Airports did not report any major storm-related issues, a small number of flights involving propeller aircraft were cancelled at Dublin Airport.

    However the storm caused major disruption for commuters in Cork city and parts of County Kerry and County Donegal where dozens of reports of fallen trees and other debris caused havoc on the roads, leading to major delays around Cork city this morning.

    Bus Eireann also cancelled some services in counties Galway, Limerick and Mayo with some school bus services cancelled in county Galway leading to the closure of some schools.

    Services between Macroom in Co Cork and Killarney in Co Kerry were also cancelled while fallen trees in Limerick lead to the diversion of some routes.

    Bus Eireann also cancelled its 890 Expressway/Eurolines route after Stena Line cancelled its sailings between Ferries Rosslare and Fishguard.

    Gusts of up to 135 km/h led to flight cancellations and diversions in the south and dangerous driving conditions due to downed trees and other debris on the road – including at least three trampolines found blowing on roads and motorways in counties Limerick, Tipperary and Kildare.

    While the south, west and northwest bore the brunt of Storm Brendan as it tracked across Ireland, Dublin is still at risk of coastal flooding today and early tomorrow, according to Dublin City Council.

    Car parks were closed and flood barriers were set up along the coastal communities of Clontarf in north Dublin, Sandymount in south Dublin and along the tidal reaches of the River Dodder in south Dublin which will remain in place until Wednesday morning due to further high tides predicted to hit around 2pm today.

    The storm also caused storm surges and flooding in many coastal areas as well as localised spot flooding. A section of the coast road in Skerries, north county Dublin was closed today due to flooding.

    As a result the number 33 Dublin Bus operating between the city centre and Balbriggan was re-routed yesterday. Officials from Dublin Bus last night could not say when normal service is expected to resume. However a spokeswoman said no other Dublin Bus routes were affected by the storm or coastal flooding.

    The storm also forced the temporary closure of the Department of Social Welfare Office on D’Olier Street this afternoon after strong winds blew in a window. No one was injured during the incident and the office is expected to re-open as usual tomorrow, with no disruption to normal services.

    The storm also prompted the Dublin City Homeless Executive to activate its Extreme Weather Protocol in which outreach teams made contact with rough sleepers and other homeless people to ensure that they had shelter during the storm. Extra beds and extended opening hours at hostels were put in place to ensure they did not have to go out during the storm but there were no other storm-related issues, according to a spokeswoman.

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